US President-elect Barack Obama, who has been making key economic appointments this week, has stressed that getting America out of recession will be his top priority. But he said stimulus packages would need to be backed up by far-reaching reforms. “Budget reform is not an option, it’s a necessity. We can’t sustain a system which bleeds billions of taxpayer dollars on programmes which have outlived their usefulness or exist solely because of the power of politicians, lobbyists or interest groups, we simply can’t afford it. This isn’t about big government or small government. It’s about building a smarter government that focuses on what works,” Obama said.